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Solo development
Atmospheric exploration
Sound- and touch-driven shading
Organic character
IK-based, physical control
Sightless navigation
In development

Mother grew organically from experimentation with limb IK and procedural animation, naturally taking on a theme of exploration using touch. Being centered around slow and methodical movement, the world constructed for the game is neither hostile nor friendly, but dead and uncaring, for better or for worse; there to be uncovered. The character and environment design attempt to convey a sense of carrying precious cargo to an unknown destination.

The player controls a blind spider-like creature, able to climb over any surface and feeling its way through the world. Both player and creature are only aware of a small portion of the world at any given time, sensing it vaguely through sounds and vibrations.

Mother's unorthodox setting leads to unique design challenges: the visuals need to convey a reliance on senses other than sight for navigation, while also maintaining a balance between a feeling of exploration, and of being lost; the environment must evoke a narrative without utilizing classic visual storytelling techniques; it should be navigable even though its vast majority is invisible at any given time, and any of its surfaces is a viable path.

The organic, creaturelike character design also presents implementation challenges: each of the limbs must be navigated through arbitrary geometries, and all of them believably choreographed by higher-order logic; the player's intentions should be consolidated into this complex decision-making process without feeling obtrusive; to help sell the blindness of the creature, the inputs to its navigation logic should be limited — in practice, it utilizes only player input and data gained from physical contact with the world.

Interaction with the world revolves around trading mobility with sight, resulting in exploration at a contemplative pace. While in motion, the creature senses little of its surroundings; when standing in place and concentrating it feels minute disturbances farther away; and when tapping the floor it can construct a fleeting image of the world.

The protagonist of this game carries its eggs blindly through the world, feeling its way across different geometries, navigating them at any angle.

A showcase of the creature’s mechanical abilities in an obstacle course test scene. Confident navigation of these obstacles is essential for a believable experience that doesn’t hinder the player’s desired actions, as well as removing restrictions from world design.

Character and environment concept sketches. The life cycle of the creature was fleshed out to better drive the narrative conveyed through the environment, and various sections were drawn to explore mechanical and storytelling opportunities in the game.

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